No, not the movie with Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman. I'm talking about the NFL replacement referees who've been officiating every game since pre-season. The ones who I think are doing the best they can, but just don't have the experience and the knowledge to be a voice of authority on the football field. They come from leagues where the rules are different, or more lax. (Division III college football, Arena Football, High School and even the Lingerie Football League) When they do make a call, they sound as wishy-washy as Charlie Brown. The longer this situation continues, the worse it seems to get. Week 3 was the worst yet. My concern is that if this isn't resolved soon, anything that is accomplished during the 2012-2013 season will always be called into question, or have an asterisk beside it, if you will, because of the replacement referees.
To provide some background on this situation, the agreement between the Referee's Association and the NFL expired during the off-season. There are 4 major points of negotiation that need resolved. The first is compensation, the NFLRA is asking for twice as large of an increase to what the NFL offered. The second is that the NFL wants to eliminate the existing pension plan and offer the refs an employee-contributed plan like a 401K. The third is bringing on some full-time positions to help oversee enforcement of policies. And the last is adding more crews of referees, which would result in less games (and hence fewer paychecks) per ref per season. The largest point of contention seems to be the pension plans. All of the current referees were hired with the promise of significant pension plans upon retirement and have planned for their golden years based on that promise.
After watching the games Sunday, it was apparent that the replacement referees have no control over the game. Many calls were overturned, games ran long, and players are getting hurt. The players and the fans need to demand that the referees and the NFL work out an agreement so they can get back to work, the players can get back to playing football, and I can get back to enjoying football.
NFL Football Post
The American Prospect